1. LaQuinton Ross, Ohio State
Ross averaged 8.3 points last season while shooting 38.9% from beyond the arc. In Ohio State’s four NCAA tournament games, he averaged 15 points. Now that he is a starter and the Buckeyes’ best scorer, he will blossom into one of the best players in the Big Ten.
2. Montrezl Harrell, Louisville
Especially until Chane Behanan returns from his indefinite suspension, Harrell will be Louisville’s main player. The 6’8″ sophomore averaged 5.7 points and 3.6 rebounds in 16.2 minutes per game last season and showed his potential with 20 points and seven rebounds in the Big East championship game against Syracuse.
3. Sam Dekker, Wisconsin
Dekker was Wisconsin’s sixth man last season, and he averaged 9.6 points while shooting 47.8% from the field and 39.1% on three-pointers. He now enters the starting lineup as a sophomore and has the potential to be an All-Big Ten First Team selection. Bo Ryan’s Wisconsin teams typically have a balanced attack on offense, but Dekker has the ability to average upwards of 18 points per game.
4. Will Sheehey, Indiana
Sheehey has been a key bench player for Indiana the last three seasons, but this year he will be arguably the Hoosiers’ best offensive player. He is their top returning scorer with 9.5 points per game, and he is also an efficient scorer at 49.2% from the field for his career. He is Indiana’s only rotation player more mature than a sophomore, so his experience will be vital.
5. Perry Ellis, Kansas
Ellis was a McDonald’s All-American in the Class of 2012, but he received limited playing time with Jeff Withey and Kevin Young in Kansas’ frontcourt last season. The Jayhawks still have frontcourt depth with talented freshman Joel Embiid and Memphis transfer Tarik Black, but Ellis will definitely see more of the floor and possibly even start at forward.
6. Kris Dunn, Providence
Dunn missed the first nine games last season while recovering from an injury, but he still competed well as a freshman in the Big East. In 25 games, he averaged 5.7 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 3.2 assists, and he recorded a season-high 13 assists against Colgate.
7. Garrick Sherman, Notre Dame
A Michigan State transfer, Sherman averaged seven points and 3.4 rebounds for Notre Dame last season in only 15.6 minutes per game. With Jack Cooley graduated, Sherman has the opportunity to become Notre Dame’s main presence in the frontcourt. He struggled early on in Big East play last season, but in February and March he had four games where he scored in double figures.
8. Josh Scott, Colorado
Scott was nothing short of impressive as a freshman. The Colorado native averaged 10.2 points and 5.7 rebounds while posting a pair of double-doubles. He struggled during the second half of conference play but performed well against Illinois in the NCAA tournament with eight points, 14 points, and three blocks.
9. Frank Kaminsky, Wisconsin
The 7-foot Kaminsky averaged only 4.2 points and 1.8 rebounds in 10.3 minutes last season, but this year he will start at forward for the Badgers. The one time he played more than 20 minutes last season, he recorded 19 points and five rebounds.
10. Xavier Johnson, Colorado
Johnson averaged 8.9 points and 4.8 rebounds as a freshman and improved as the season went on. In the final nine games of the season, he averaged 12.3 points and 6.6 boards while shooting 55.7% from the field and 60% from beyond the arc.
11. Przemek Karnowski, Gonzaga
Gonzaga lost stars Kelly Olynyk and Elias Harris from its frontcourt, so Karnowski will become a key contributor as a sophomore. The 7’1″ center played 10.7 minutes per game last season and averaged 5.4 points and 2.6 rebounds. When playing more than 15 minutes, he averaged 12.4 points and 4.6 boards.
12. Winston Shepard, San Diego State
Shepard averaged 5.7 points, 3.5 rebounds, and two assists last season as a sophomore. The versatile forward should start this season for Steve Fisher’s Aztecs.
13. Kyle Collinsworth, Brigham Young
Collinsworth served as a missionary in Russia the last two seasons, but now he is back with the Brigham Young basketball program as a sophomore. In 2010-11, he logged 25.7 minutes per game and averaged 5.8 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game. Expect him to make an impactful return in the WCC.
14. Alex Hamilton, Louisiana Tech
Hamilton had an impressive freshman season for the Bulldogs with 7.8 points and 2.7 assists per game. The 6’4″ guard scored as many as 20 point in a single game and averaged 15.5 points and 3.5 dimes during Louisiana Tech’s NIT run.
15. Mike Tobey, Virginia
A 6’11” forward, Tobey played 13.9 minutes per game as a freshman and averaged 6.8 points on 53% field-goal shooting. In three NIT games, he recorded 10 points and four rebounds for the Cavaliers. As a sophomore, he could make the starting lineup.
Here are 10 others guys to keep an eye on as well:
Jerami Grant, Syracuse
Ty Wallace, California
Dajuan Coleman, Syracuse
D’Andre Wright, Tulsa
Tony Parker, UCLA
Tyrone Garland, La Salle
Shannon Scott, Ohio State
Omar Oraby, USC
Buddy Hield, Oklahoma
Gabe York, Arizona